Since May 17, 2005

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I am a middle aged, married, overweight, conservative, southern, sometimes obnoxious, ex-Navy, fiercely patriotic, American male.

I became politically aware during the Carter administration with its accompanying 444 days of American hostage captivity, ill-conceived foreign treaties, and all around general incompetence. I knew there had to be better.

I found what I was looking for in the philosophy, vision, and leadership of Ronald Wilson Reagan. While no one can deny his political and communication skills, there was so much more to the man! His core belief in, and devotion to, this nation - combined with his brand of conservatism – helped shape my core beliefs and is a large part of what forms my personal world-view to this day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 To the Editors of the SHJ: Like most Americans, I have been thinking about the needless death of a young man named Trayvon Martin. While I still have many questions, I have decided where I think the responsibility for this death rests and that is at the foot of those responsible for developing the boy, Trayvon Martin, into the man, Trayvon Martin. Many arguments have been made about neighborhood watch procedures, concealed carry, stand your ground, race, tea, Skittles, and even hoodies. All of these points are irrelevant. The fact – thankfully, in my opinion - is that we live in a society with personal defense weapons and Trayvon Martin was not trained in how to safely live in such a community. He was not trained in how to aggressively, forcefully, peacefully, and with dignity stand up for himself. What if, upon realizing he was being followed, young Mr. Martin had been taught to react as follows: what if he had stopped, turned to face his pursuer, made eye contact, and said, “STOP. My name is Trayvon Martin. I have a cell phone. I have called 911. Why are you following me?” What if… I suspect George Zimmerman’s legal, appropriate, and diligent actions to this point would have never been questioned – by anyone. I suspect Mr. Zimmerman’s personal defense measures would have never been an issue. I suspect Mr. Martin, Mr. Zimmerman, and the responding officer would have had a good laugh. (That is, if the officer had not been diverted to an actual crime by either of the two 911 operators now involved.) I suspect I would have never known the names Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman. It’s not too far out there to imagine this incident as the beginning of a lifelong friendship between Mr. Martin and Mr. Zimmerman. But then, I like a happy ending.